Whilst cleaning out my personal e-mail account this morning, I stumbled across a message imploring me to check out the new and improved “WordPress for Android”.
So I downloaded it and it’s already passed an unofficial test. I left a comment on a blog post earlier this morning and when Andy answered me, first came a little pling and then the WordPress logo was in my notifications area.
Now apparently the photo / media posting is improved. Seeing as I wasn’t using the app earlier I’m not sure what will be better.
Motonet spare parts guy
This happy guy is imploring me to buy jobs for Finland.
Certainly adding pictures seems to be easy enough… just not sure how to get the text under the picture easily.
I’ll just jump right over summer time and the whole moving the clocks forward bit. That comes every year at the same time (last weekend of March here in Finland / Europe) and so isn’t really an indication of summer.
Not like mopo-pojat (mopo boys).
As soon as the streets are clear of winter (gravel etc) and the temperatures have moved into plus (and not by much I might add), they are out. You rarely see / hear them in the mornings. No, this creature enjoys the long dusk hours and delights in riding up and down empty streets, doing the block and other seemingly pointless trips – on the back of a relatively powerless (but noisy) motorbike.
I heard my first specimen a few nights ago and tonight I was fortunate enough to follow them home.
More specifically – diet labels. I lost a bet whilst we were on holidays and the price I paid was cooking a week of vegan dinners.
I’ve managed to surprise myself and am now embracing eating less meat. My recipe bank is filling with new recipes – it’s so much more fun than following the same old recipes and just substituting the meat away. Summer will be more challenging I think, as we grill (meat) quite often. Maybe I can call myself a ‘winter vegan’. If you think such a thing could not exist, read on!
I was sitting in the hairdressers this afternoon flicking through one of January’s magazines when I came across an interesting article. Actually article is quite generous, it was more like a side bar. In it were listed three types of alternative vegans. Now, I didn’t realise that this was something you could turn on and off – apparently you can!
1st up – the home grown vegan. This version eats a vegan diet only at home and then resorts to eating meat / dairy etc. when out of the house. What’s the point? It doesn’t encourage the restaurant trade to cater to vegans and encourages the individual not to eat at home. Pass.
Milk alternative vegan is the next one – this is just swapping the milk in your coffee and cereal for a plant based alternative. Now I drink my coffee black, so that’s a fail right there, and I mix my breakfasts up – yoghurt and muesli one day, porridge another and then maybe toast. My impact on the dairy industry will be quite limited there.
The final alternative put forward is as ludicrous as the earlier options. You can be the 6 o’clock vegan! Six pm becomes a line in the sand. It’s either the time when you revert to a normal diet or you can only eat vegan after this time.
Why can’t people just eat in moderation (except for bacon, because you know – bacon. Or peanut butter or chocolate or oops… Side-tracked) and forget about the blinking labels.
Now that I am a winter vegan (i.e. only in winter time) here is the latest dinner: Vietnamese noodle soup (quite yummy and spicy it was).
In August 2015, the food hall (Herkku) of Stockmann’s department store introduced their 20 minute meals *. The idea is pretty simple, 3 recipes per week and one dedicated refrigerator & shelf with ALL of the ingredients you need to make these three dishes.
The 20-minute meal section, Itis Stockmann
The beauty of the recipes is that they really are ready in 20 minutes! One favourite that I have made on a few occasions is the creamy cauliflower soup with crispy bacon. Now as previously mentioned, we’ve taken a bit of a vegetarian / vegan turn in our diet. So some substitution is required. Following is the recipe with my substitutions in brackets!
INGREDIENTS – serves 3 nicely as a main meal, 4 or more as a starter
1 kg cauliflower
1 litre chicken (vegetable) stock
salt, black pepper
2 dl cream (oat cream)
1 pkt bacon (100 g nuts** – dry roasted if possible) TO SERVE
Rye bread, cheese, tomato (paprika/pepper/capsicum to replace cheese) RECIPE
1. Bring stock to boil. Cut cauliflower into florets, and add to stock. Cook until cauliflower is soft (about 12-15 minutes) and add cream.
2. Puree soup, season with salt and pepper.
3. Fry bacon to until crispy, remove from pan and use paper towel to dry bacon of any extra fat. (If nuts have not been roasted previously, heat fry pan to high, add nuts and turn heat down, tossing so they don’t burn!)
4. Serve with bacon bits (nuts), bread, tomato & cheese (paprika) slices.
Creamy cauliflower soup with nuts
* Link is in Finnish.
**Next time I use nuts I think I may chop them first, as they tended to sink in the bowl 🙂
Mr. 17 is working very hard to convince us that a vegan diet is the way to go. Myself, I’m not so convinced, I am very fond of butter with my vegemite toast 🙂 and let’s not forget the world of cheese! Still we are definitely eating less meat this year.
Enter Härkis! One of a few new protein (i.e. meat substitutes) that have hit supermarket shelves in the last 18 months. It’s extremely versatile and you can use it in place of minced meat: burgers, lasagne, pasta sauces, tacos, woks etc. I got a bit excited on the weekend and ended up buying 4 packets… and prepared this dish for dinner last night: Asian Härkis Bowl. Follow the link for Finnish, read on for English! I’ve added some observations in the brackets 😉 INGREDIENTS – serves 4 2 dl basmati rice
200 ml creamy coconut milk
3 dl water
1 clove garlic
1 red chili
1 tbspn sesame oil
1 pkt Härkis (250 gm)
1 tbspn fish sauce
2 tspn soy sauce
1 tspn cane sugar
1 lime (grated & juiced) TO SERVE
Roman lettuce finely cut, coriander, red pepper/paprika/capsicum cut to small cubes and roasted peanuts
RECIPE 1. Boil water & coconut milk together (watch closely – it boils quickly and I ended up with a coconut milk puddle on my stove!). Add the rice and lower the temperature. Cover and cook for about 12 minutes. (Stir occasionally!) Let the rice sit for a minute before serving.
2. Finely chop the garlic and chili, quickly fry in the oil. Add in the Härkis and season the mixture with fish and soy sauces, sugar and both lime juice and the grated rind. (Stir quickly.) Lift off the heat.
3. Place rice in the bottom of the serving bowl, and sit Härkis, lettuce, paprika and coriander around the end. Top off with chopped nuts.
You have to love it when the recipe is on the flour packet…
Blinis, buckwheat blinis! There is something magical about blinis. I’m not sure if it’s the buckwheat flour that gives them a lovely grainy texture or because the batter uses yeast and yoghurt and sits for at least a day fermenting or is it the topping of delicate fish roe and thick sour cream with a sprinkling of finely chopped onions. Maybe it’s the butter that they are cooked in.
No matter from which direction you are coming, they are pretty great. Better still, January is the traditional blini season in Helsinki. As I write this, at least four restaurants in the city centre are celebrating blini weeks. As nice as it is to eat out, I quite enjoy cooking them myself. It is an art form and they are definitely a dish that you need to watch while they are cooking.
Almost ready to eat…
Chatting with The Engineer on Sunday morning, I came to the realisation that blinis were one of the first dishes that I learnt to cook when I moved to Finland. It is also probably the one that took the longest to master.
A selection of toppings
Clockwise from top left we have Smetana (a lovely thick sour cream), chopped onion, roe from the European white fish and roe from rainbow trout. Note the different colours and textures of the roe!
I made a bet that I was sure I was going to win. Namely that The Engineer would not utter anything in Thai whilst we were in Thailand. Mr. 17 bet against me. At stake – our dinner options for a week. I figured I was safe, and we would eat normally – a bit of meat, fish, pasta, vegetarian, pasta etc. I try to keep it mixed up, although I know we could eat more fish than we do.
I was on the home stretch – quite literally. Walking down the jet way about to board our flight back to Helsinki and out of his mouth pops… Sawadee Kap (hello). Mr. 17 started beaming and I was standing there gobsmacked – I mean he never ever says anything in any other language than those he is fluent in (at least 4…) but anyway I digress. The deal was one week of vegan dinners.
The Engineer has missed out on the very nice week we’ve had. I’ve discovered that the (trendy) alternative proteins on the market (Härkis – bean products and Nyhtökaura – pulled oats) sell out really quickly and tofu has come a really long way – cold smoked tofu anyone?
I did get a bit disappointed when I went online and at one of my favourite ‘recipe banks’ requested vegaani (Finnish for vegan) dishes. The first one I opened was for vegetable crepes. The ingredients included… eggs.
The good news though, the vegan options are here to stay.